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Gay Marriage

Cuyahoga County Settles Anti-Discrimination Suit Against Covenant Weddings

The settlement is subject to federal court approval.

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The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on a proposed legal settlement between Cuyahoga County and an evangelical minister, Kristi Stokes, who operates a business, Covenant Weddings, which only offers wedding services "that celebrate marriage between one biological man and one biological woman." In 2018, the County prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by business, and Stokes sued the county to prevent enforcement of the ordinance against her.

From the Plain Dealer story:

The proposed settlement said the county cannot compel Stokes and her business "to offer officiating and writing services against their sincerely held religious beliefs."

The tentative settlement indicates one of the key reasons why: Neither Stokes nor her business has a storefront or office in the county "that could be considered a place of public accommodation." . . .

"Even if [Stokes and her business] could be considered a place of public accommodation, the accommodation clause does not mandate or force Kristi Stokes, or any other minister, to officiate or solemnize weddings against their sincerely held religious beliefs," the proposed agreement said.

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Gay Marriage Discrimination

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152 responses to “Cuyahoga County Settles Anti-Discrimination Suit Against Covenant Weddings

  1. Yippee!

    The freedom of religion in this nation has always been the freedom to engage in bigotry, hatred, discrimination and intolerance by so-called religious people, and this just affirms that. The only question is how people like that can consider themselves to be pious, religious or decent human beings. Fortunately for them we do not require it and are willing to give them the freedoms they would deny to others.

    1. Translation: anyone who disagrees with me is a bigot, a hater, intolerant, biased, heathen, irreligious, and indecent.

      So original.

      1. “So original.”

        Truth is truth. Truth is not necessarily original, it just keeps being truth.

        1. “It is the mark of the mind untrained to take its own processes as valid for all men, and its own judgments for absolute truth.”

          ― Aleister Crowley

          1. “There is such a thing as objective reality.”
            — grown-ass adults.

    2. I don’t understand your comment. You used the words “bigotry, hatred, discrimination and intolerance by so-called religious people.” Yet, you aren’t capable of granting them your tolerance by not forcing her to perform an act against her will. What would YOU have her do against her sincerely held beliefs? Where would you draw the line? She isn’t a monopoly. The prospective couple can simply go elsewhere more hospitable to spend their monies, no?

      1. That’s a general argument against non-discrimination laws for public accommodations. I think we pretty much settled that one about 50 years ago.

        1. Clingers have been pushing ‘heads we win, tails you lose’ — no one can discriminate against those who claim superstition, but those who claim superstition can discriminate against anyone else — with support from Republicans and conservatives for decades.

          That party may be approaching conclusion.

        2. Yes, that IS a general argument against non-discrimination laws for ‘public accommodations’. They were a horrible, horrible mistake, a violation of principle which set our country on an ugly path.

          It may be that we can’t correct that mistake, (Though I hope that’s not the case.) but we can at least avoid extending it.

      2. “you aren’t capable of granting them your tolerance by not forcing her to perform an act against her will.”

        If solemnizing weddings is against her will, she made a staggeringly-bad decision about what kind of business to operate.

      3. What would YOU have her do against her sincerely held beliefs?

        Not discriminate in a public accommodation based on a customer’s real or perceived sex, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, or sexuality orientation.

        Now here’s the fun part: for the 30% of Americans that don’t support non-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation, that statement is only questionable with those last three words.

        But broadly speaking, Americans have no problem with expecting a service provider at a public accommodation to go “against [their] sincerely held beliefs”. It’s only when you include gay folk that a minority of Americans get upset.

        So yeah. The minority objection really isn’t based on forcing them to do something against their beliefs. America is okay with that, and has been for decades. Nope. The objection is to treating gay folk just like everyone else.

        And it’s not really subtle either. A few years back there was a spate of “license to discriminate” legislation that was proposed all across the nation. Very little of it passed, but the proposals themselves were quite telling.

        Not a one would have said that bakers working on commission weren’t accountable to non-discrimination laws. They gave carve-outs for folks like Phillips in refusing gay folk, but left intact other non-discrimination protections.

        So for example, if Colorado has passed such a law, then Masterpiece Cakeshop would have still been obligated to sell over-the-counter goods to gay folk, but when it came to wedding cakes, he could refuse someone for being gay… but not for being black, Irish, Jewish, and so-on. Kind of underscored that there really wasn’t any concern for his right to a conscience… just his right to an anti-gay conscience.

        So to summarize: I would obligate her to ignore my sexual orientation to the same degree that she is already obligated to ignore my religion, sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, and so-on.

    3. So, would you have the same opinion if the person performing the service was Muslim as opposed to Christian?

      If not, you’re the bigot.

      1. There are none as intolerant as those who proclaim themselves the arbiters of who is tolerant.

        1. why should anyone ‘tolerate’ sodomites?

          1. Are they sodomizing you against your will? If not, then bugger off, slaver. Go mind your own business.

            1. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

    4. These people provide services to natural weddings not gay ones.

      Its no more discriminatory than pet store not selling shoes.

      1. Clingers prefer supernatural weddings.

      2. If God doesn’t like weddings involving gay people, He’ll do something to prevent it. Pillar of fire by night, pillar of smoke by day kind of stuff. So far, not so much.

    5. Hundreds of millions have died over the millenia as those of one religion persecuted another.

      But I’m glad modern wokeness has decided (finally!) that such power, if only in the right hands is good for humanity! You tell those religious people who they must marry!

      This from an atheist who is far more vicious to religion than anyone around here. But I see ths problems it has caused historically when it holds the reins of power, and realize it is the power, not who wields it, that is the problem.

      1. You tell those religious people who they must marry!

        Is literally the opposite of how every single lawsuit involving an officiant has gone.

        You may be an atheist, but if you think non-discrimination laws obligate officiants then you’re drinking the Kool-Aid.

  2. Delusional bigots have rights, too.

    Not everyone will understand this. Borat, for example, will be flustered by idea woman is run business.

    1. To be fair, Borat’s first language is not English, so that kind of grammar would be expected to fluster him.

      1. That kind of grammar has help Borat earn millions of dollars and plenty of laughs.

        He excels at getting yahoos to cooperate as he mocks them.

        1. He’s a fictional character. Like Forrest Gump or Donald Trump.

  3. Sounds right to me.

    1. I would draw the line at “participant in the wedding”. So DJs and officiants participate in the actual wedding whereas the guy that bakes the cake isn’t a participant in the wedding. The Christian baker seemed to agree with this line which is why he felt the need to lie and portray himself as a participant in all the weddings for which he bakes a cake. So a caterer or a wedding venue have to accept everyone but a DJ and officiant have more leeway.

      1. Is someone who uses their creative talents to make, say, a wedding portrait a participant or should they be forced to express their creativity in service of gay weddings?

        1. The more state licenses one has to get the less likely one is an “artist” that participates in weddings. So if you want to own real estate and and get a license to run a wedding venue and keep your venue up to code then you have to behave like an adult and not throw tantrums like a child. Adults have to pay taxes whereas a DJ gets to smoke weed all day and then play music and get people to do the chicken dance on the weekend. 😉

          1. So your principle for determining who is a participant or not is the quantity of licenses needed to conduct business?

            Do you have a number for that quantity or are you just trying to invent meaningless and specious rationale?

            1. It’s just common sense—the higher the barriers to entry the more difficult it is to find a replacement. So if a homosexual couple (I refer to hetero couples as “gay couples” because hetero marriage in America is super gay and dumb) wants to get married in a certain town and the venue they desire is available they should be able to make plans like any other American. So if the town has a bakery that advertises wedding cakes they shouldn’t have to call every business about whether they mean all weddings or just gay weddings (I refer to hetero weddings as “gay weddings” because they have become so gay). Now if you want a DJ you always have to call about availability so the smaller the town it’s common sense getting a DJ and photographer might be difficult so you might have to pay extra to have someone drive in if you are intent on having a wedding in a small town.

              1. So if you’re in a small town, you can force photographers and DJ’s to participate in gay weddings, but if you’re in a big town you don’t?

                This principle of forcing people into creative expression against their wills hinges on how inconvenienced some gay might be?

                1. Re-read my comment—you can NOT force small town photographers and DJs to participate in a homosexual wedding because in the normal course of business there is no expectation that you will be able to secure the services of a photographer or DJ in a small town for a given event. So you might have to pay extra to have a DJ drive into town just for the homosexual wedding.

                2. “So if you’re in a small town, you can force photographers and DJ’s to participate in gay weddings, but if you’re in a big town you don’t?”

                  The term is “hire”. People who are paid for their work aren’t “forced”. People who don’t want to be hired to make wedding photographs should avoid taking out advertisements wherein they offer to take wedding photographs in exchange for money.

                  1. We definitely do not want to go backwards and have segregation again except instead of a “green book“ LGBTQ Americans would use the “rainbow book” to navigation across the country to see who will take their money. That said the barriers to entry are so low for officiant and DJ that I could definitely see some nutty Christian ruining a homosexual wedding they were forced to work at just out of spite and animus…so what you are advocating is “playing with fire”.

                    1. By all means, nobody should be “forced” to be at a same-sex wedding. But people who offer to provide services in exchange for money should be expected to fulfill their contracts, just like everyone else.

                    2. Lol, good luck suing a racist redneck Christian photographer that wants to ruin a homosexual wedding.

                    3. Civil actions depend on the party being sued having $$$$…so the typical racist Christian homophobic hillbilly/redneck might have a 1989 Camaro and a single wide to their name.

                    4. By all means, nobody should be “forced” to be at a same-sex wedding. But people who offer to provide services in exchange for money should be expected to fulfill their contracts, just like everyone else.

                      Of course they should be expected to fulfill their contracts, but there is no contract in this context. It is basic contract law that, absent unusual circumstances, an advertisement is not an offer that can be accepted to create a contract.

                    5. Federal and state laws exist that prohibit false advertising…so if a baker specifically advertises that he/she bakes “wedding cakes” then the baker can’t decline a customer because the customer is asking the baker to bake a wedding cake. So if a Christian bachelorette and asks the baker the bake a cake in the shape of a penis for her “totes awesome” bachelorette party the baker can decline unless the baker advertises specifically that he bakes bachelorette party cakes.

                  2. People who are paid for their work aren’t “forced”.

                    People who are forced are forced. Whether one is paid is orthogonal to whether one is forced.

          2. The more state licenses one has to get the less likely one is an “artist” that participates in weddings.

            So government can strip freedom of religion or expression by making you kneel for permissions?

            Who lets freedom get in such a shabby state?

            1. Who lets freedom get in such a shabby state?

              The people who were horrified by what they were seeing in the Jim Crow south.

              Non-discrimination law did not start with LGBT people. It took decades of normalizing some discrimination as prohibited before the first jurisdiction expanded non-discrimination protects to LGBT people.

      2. “I would draw the line at ‘participant in the wedding’.”

        You may have a slightly different definition of “participant in the wedding” than I have. I count only three participants… the spouses, and the officiant who signs the license. Nobody else is “participating” in the wedding, whether they have to rent a tux or not.

        1. You have a very different definition of participant in the wedding than I have — and, I suspect, than most people have. I think everyone other than you would agree that, e.g., members of the bridal party participate in the wedding.

  4. The county passed a law barring discrimination in public accommodations. A minister ran a religious wedding mill. Pretty clear that the law doesn’t cover this. The report doesn’t suggest that the county had made any attempt to enforce this non-applicable law against the minister. The minister sued to prevent the non-existent enforcement. A few months later (it probably would have been faster but for COVID), the parties agreed to an andoyne document stating the obvious — and the plaintiff’s lawyers don’t even get paid. Dog bites man; film at eleven.

    1. One does not have to wait to be prosecuted to sue the Democrat government. That is precedent in Pennsylvania. The rule is threatening. The Democrat government should have paid all costs, as well.

      1. EEK! A Democrat government! Fetch my fainting couch!

        1. James. Try harder to be funny. Local comedy clubs have courses.

          1. Try harder to be smart. Local schools will teach you.

            1. “Local schools will teach you.”

              “Democrat” schools, sure. Republican schools? Not likely.

              1. Government schools vs Freedom schools is the best way to classify them.

                1. You prefer the nonsense-teaching schools, clinger? The schools that suppress science to flatter superstition, warp history for congruence with dogma, enforce speech and conduct codes, collect loyalty oaths, and engage in viewpoint-controlled discrimination is all aspects of operation?

                  You stick with the fourth-tier, censorship-shackled yahoo factories . . . they suit you. People like me will continue to rely on our society’s strongest, reason-based research and teaching institutions. Let’s see how that turns out.

                  1. In government schools:

                    Q: What’s 2 + 2?
                    A-1: “What are your axioms and definitions?”
                    A-2: “What a racist question.”

                    In freedom schools:
                    Q: What’s 2+2?
                    A: 4

                    1. You’re one of the idiots who cannot learn that 10+10 = 100, and refuses to consider any argument that shows that it might be correct, aren’t you?

                    2. James,

                      There are 10 types of people, those who know binary and those who don’t.

                      Weaksauce.

                    3. “Weaksauce.”

                      It was tailored to you.

                    4. There are three types of people
                      Those who subdivide everybody into three types
                      and those who don’t.

                2. “Government schools vs Freedom schools is the best way to classify them.”

                  Freedom school? I believe the current term is “special education”.

                  1. Are you sadz you can’t treat LGBTQ people as second class citizens??? 🙁

      2. You don’t have to wait for prosecution, though you do risk embarrassment, or worse, if you sue too precipitously. There’s a reason the plaintiff settled for a meaningless declaration and no money or costs.

  5. Just another ‘law’ by the chosen ones to undermine religion. When the jewdiciary opines that adults can marry minors and have sex with them, what will be your silly argument then?

    No religion upholds same sex marriage as it is not a marriage. There is no purpose in a religious rite/sacrament between Harry and Garry, this is just a jewish construct on the host society to undermine what is normal….deviancy is a jew game and they love to fuck with normal people.

    Why is the ‘state’ involved in marriage? What narrow, purposeful interest of the ‘state’ is achieved by playing regulator and definer of what is a marriage? All a jewish game….as is ‘no fault’ divorce. Jews are a sneaky bunch and will make a mess of a civilized society. Parasitic plays.

    1. Orthodox Jews are being targeted by our Commie government. You seem like a biased anti-Semite. There is no talking to deniers. Only something else. This time around, Jews have nukes.

      1. You seem like a raving idiot. I don’t believe you have any nukes.

    2. “Why is the ‘state’ involved in marriage? What narrow, purposeful interest of the ‘state’ is achieved by playing regulator and definer of what is a marriage?”

      The state makes legal assumptions about people who claim to be married to each other. Such as granting power of attorney for medical decisions. This allows medical professionals to obtain consent for services from SOMEBODY who has authority to make them for people who are unable to make their own decisions. This automatic power saves time for people who need time-sensitive treatment, and saves a LOT of legal fighting over who, exactly, can make decisions for this guy who got in the way of a crosstown bus down on Twelfth Street. (and later, who gets his stuff if he doesn’t get better.)
      THAT’S why the state takes an interest in who is or is not considered “married” in their jurisdiction.

      1. So let them get married by a state official.

        1. Let them get married by whoever they hire to do the job.

        2. You misunderstand the opposition to same-sex marriage (and more broadly, the opposition to gay people).

          The people that didn’t want us to get married didn’t really care who officiated. They just didn’t want any recognition of our unions. They weren’t satisfied by us getting married by secular officials, they weren’t satisfied when we got civil unions or domestic partnerships instead, and they weren’t satisfied when we didn’t actually get any legal recognition, but were just having a private ceremony.

          Elane Photography, the eponymous “photographer” in the oft-repeated claim over “Bakers and photographers”, did not refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding: she refused to do photographs at a commitment ceremony.

          Similarly, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop did not refuse to bake a cake for a wedding; the state of Colorado did not recognize same-sex marriages at the time. He refused a cake for a party that was going to celebrate a wedding that happened days prior in a different state.

          Simply put, objections to the weddings and unions of same-sex couples do not hinge on the technical details.

          And the people protest “I’m not anti-gay, I just don’t like bakers and photographers being sued, so that’s why I can’t support same-sex marriage” are lying liars who lie a lot. Well, some may be genuinely deceived by folks like ADF, who push the lie that these lawsuits are about marriage. But most know better, and find it profits them (often literally) to conflate non-discrimination laws with same-sex marriage.

    3. ” When the jewdiciary opines that adults can marry minors and have sex with them, what will be your silly argument then?”

      Thousands of years of precedent.

    4. What deplorable drivel.

  6. When I sue the government, I will not accept payment of damages from the taxpayer, as happens 99% of the time. I will insist all damages come from the personal assets of officials. Infringement of rights is not part of the job description. To deter.

    1. It won’t be up to you. That’s not how it works.

      1. It is irrational to punish the innocent taxpayer, and should be against policy. One may argue that in a motion. Furthermore, punishing another for misconduct does not seem fair, nor effective.

        The Prince has broken a rule. Let’s spank another kid. These officials are not the Prince.

        1. The fact remains. Whatever your preferences, the check will represent taxpayer funds. You can tear the check up if you like, but you can’t insist that someone else you prefer pay. Motion denied.

          1. Do you think an argument of rationality has any merit or chance of prevailing? It is not rational to punish an innocent party, like the taxpayer. Cops keep shooting unarmed people in the back. The tax payer is paying. Do you want to deter wrongdoing or not?

            1. “Do you think an argument of rationality has any merit or chance of prevailing?”

              Wrong question. The right question is:
              “Do I believe that this twit is capable of arguing anything rationally?”

            2. You might be able to persuade the legislature to change the law — well, you might not, though somebody might — but otherwise, no, the “argument,” such as it is, has no chance of prevailing. Make any motions you want, but beware of FRCP 11 or its state equivalents.

    2. ” I will insist all damages come from the personal assets of officials.”

      You go ahead and insist, and ignore all those people laughing at you.

      1. Even if people are laughing, just a single judgement will ripple across the nation. Officials will need personal liability coverage. An official with multiple payouts will lose insurance, and have to resign. There is good policy, rational support for such a doctrine.

        1. Keep spelling it “judgement” even though everyone else thinks the word only has one “e” in it. Don’t let them bully you into taking out any letters. Insist that everyone else adjust to your preferred way of doing things!

    3. “When I sue the government, I will not accept payment of damages from the taxpayer, as happens 99% of the time. I will insist all damages come from the personal assets of officials. Infringement of rights is not part of the job description. To deter.”

      That’s why you need a Pro Se Attorney if you ever file suit against the “Democrat Government”. A regular attorney would not be able to mount a claim like this in open court, but a Pro Se Attorney would.

      Accept no substitutes.

      Go with a Pro Se Attorney every time. Your rights depend on it.

      1. There is no such thing as a pro se attorney, though people occasionally claim the title.

  7. Coming soon to a Cuyahoga County near you:
    An ordinance defining any grouping of two or more persons as “being a public accomodation”.

    1. Followed shortly by a religion claiming that any gathering of two or more persons is a religious service.

  8. It’s a challenge when “religions” operate “businesses”. It’s entirely fair game for Earthly governments to regulate businesses, even if they should (or must) refrain from attempting to regulate religion.

    1. Yes, we all know that phrase from that one court case, that politicians handing out business advantage to their buddies is America’a pastime.

  9. I refer to hetero weddings as “gay weddings” because women plan the weddings and weddings generally follow trends set by gay wedding planners in NYC and LA and so hetero weddings in America have become super gay. So this minister only conducts gay weddings pursuant her strongly held religious beliefs. So I did a little research by delving into the extremely gay hobby of wedding planning and I went to a very gay website called “The Knot”. Here is a quote directly from The Knot:

    “Your officiant should be someone you care about (and who cares about you), and whom you trust to make your ceremony special. “

    So there you have it—straight from the gay horse’s mouth! Even gay weddings don’t require a religious minister to conduct a ceremony so why would a normal wedding?? (I refer to a wedding between 2 dudes as a normal wedding because generally those weddings are more consistent with traditional weddings in America).

  10. It is funny to see some here believe “tolerance” is the equivalent of a man putting a gun to the back of someone’s head and telling them that they will pull the trigger unless compliance is obtained. In the land of plain speak we call that something different…

    1. I actually agree with you!! Plus generally weddings between two dudes end with a gang bang and officiant is expected to participate in said gang bang…or is it an orgy?? I actually think it’s an orgy because generally orgies are scheduled while gang bangs are most spontaneous.

      1. I’ve been to plenty of gang bangs and thats not what happens….

    2. “It is funny to see some here believe “tolerance” is the equivalent of a man putting a gun to the back of someone’s head and telling them that they will pull the trigger unless compliance is obtained”

      But enough about you and your friends.

  11. This Cuyahoga case involved grandstanding lawyers.

    Here is some different-level lawyering. An effective and entertaining clinic on puncturing a blowhard, one might observe.

  12. Let’s suppose the following case:

    A Wiccan feminist operates a wedding-catering business. Her belief system teaches that all marriages must be strictly egalitarian as between men and woman, and can include same-sex unions (so long as one partner isn’t dominant over the other).

    So a Muslim guy with four veiled women trailing behind him comes in and says he wants a polygamous union with those women, with himself having the sole right to divorce such of his wives as displease him, and to rule over them in general.

    The business owner believes that this will generate negative energy and will anger the goddess Lilith, so she refuses to cater the polygamous wedding. The Muslim guy says “see you in court, infidel.”

    1. Alternatively, assume it’s one guy with just one woman, but the woman is going to promise to “obey” him. The caterer rejects this because of negative energy, Lilith, etc.

      Religious freedom, or religious fanaticism getting an unfair exemption from laws everyone else must obey?

      1. At first blush, I would conclude that the caterer hasn’t broken the law because she hasn’t discriminated on the basis of a protected classification.

        1. Religion isn’t a protected classification?

          1. I don’t believe this is discrimination on the basis of religion. Based on your explanation, the caterer equally objects to secular and religious marriages where both spouses are treated equally.

            1. No, the caterer opposes inegalitarian marriages (same-sex or opposite-sex). But the lack of egalitarianism is central to the would-be customer’s identity as a religious believer.

              1. OK, let’s suppose that the caterer believes polygamy is a false religious notion based on evil patriarchial religions.

                1. I would suggest that she state she will not serve any polygamous union because of her belief in egalitarianism, and would do so whether or not polygamy is a religious practice.

                  1. I hypothesized that she opposed polygamy *because* she thinks it comes from evil patriarchal religions.

                    Anyway, there’s the question of sexual-orientation discrimination.

                    1. I thought your hypothesis was she would not serve any union which is not strictly egalitarian. The fact that she believes one particular type of a nonegalitarian union is caused by an evil religion does not change the conclusion that she is not discriminating on the basis of religion. On the other hand, if your hypothesis is she will only not serve nonegalitarian unions that she believes are caused by evil religious beliefs, then she is discriminating on the basis of religion.

                      What question about sexual-orientation discrimination are you referring to?

                    2. Polygamy is an orientation.

                    3. For that matter, wanting a traditional “honor and obey” marriage is an orientation, tool.

                      It’s sexual if we assume (as many do) that the parties to such a marriage get off on the dominance/submission aspects of it.

                    4. “too,” not “tool.” I do beg your pardon.

                    5. I strongly suggest that the polygamist or the traditional “honor or obey” man not waste his money paying a lawyer to argue they are victims of sexual orientation discrimination.

                    6. I would suggest the same for same-sex couples looking for a florist or what have you, good grief.

                    7. Same-sex couples have been very successful at arguing that refusing to serve them is sexual orientation discrimination.

                    8. I would still advise them not to spend time litigating which they could instead spend going to the next, “gay-friendly” service provider.

              2. It certainly can be the case that the lack of egalitarianism is central to the would-be customer’s religion, but I don’t think that is the standard for religious discrimination when there are secular couples who aren’t egalitarian.

    2. Of course ministers lf a religion can refuse to marry people who don’t share their religion. Orthodox Rabbis routinely refuse to marry couples where the parties aren’t both Jewish (and one male and the other female.m) – and Jewish as determined by the rabbi’s standards, not the couple’s. How could there possibly be any question that the Wiccan priestess couldn’t do something similar?

      The Muslim man would have no basis for a suit against a minister of another religion for refusing to conform to his. The state cannot force a minister to do any such thing. If he wants a marriage based on Muslim rules, he can find an imam.

      1. I didn’t say “Wiccan priestess,” I said –

        “A Wiccan feminist operates a wedding-catering business.”

        Isn’t that the key distinction, between a *real* religious ministry which cannot be regulated and a dirty, grubby business which can be forced to do what is against the owner’s private, personal, irrelevant religious opinions?

        1. Who invented the idea government gets the honor of stripping your religious beliefs as the cost of keeping food in your mouth via business instead of begging?

          The First Amendment points out this is the core of being a free person, and not a quaint anachronism to be dispensed with by those with police and armies at their back.

          1. John F. Kennedy.

      2. For the catering business, I think the Muslim man may win.

        But Jews have an out. Kosher catering businesses have to be certified bu y a rabbi. And to keep their certification, they have to follow the rabbi’s rules, including rules about the wedding.

        It would be interesting to see if other religions adapt a aimilar approach. Islam would be an obvious candidate. Perhaps they will figure out that in order for a wedding caterer to be certified as a Hallal, they have to follow certain additional rules.

        It will also be interesting if these rules ever get challenged in court. A kosher supervisor has been characterized as a kind of minister. But does that give the caterer an out to follow the supervisor’s instructions to e.g. only cater traditional weddings as a condition for retaining kosher certification? So far, it appears that it largely has.

        1. “For the catering business, I think the Muslim man may win.”

          A Wiccan feminist business owner can be compelled to cater a wedding she believes to be un-Godly – or in this case, un-Goddessly?

          And if a Jewish business owner can have an out by saying he’s following his rabbi’s guidance, why can’t a Christian business owner have an out by saying he’s following the guidance of his priest or minister? Or his own Protestant conscience?

          1. Yes, that’s the current state of the law. I disagree with Smith. But that’s the result it leads to.

            There is a First Amendment exception for speech. Masterpiece Cakeshop asked whether cake decorating is speech and therefore exempt. But this question is narrow, involving a relatively small number of professions whose speech status is arguable. But cooking is not one of them. Tacitus’ maxim about cookery (“quod ministerium fuerat, ars haberi coepta”) may be good Latin. But so far as the First Amendment is concerned, it is not good law.

            Of course, a change in Justices creates potential for change in the law. But it remains to be seen if that will happen. So far, only 3 justices, Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch, have come out against Smith as applied to these types of cases. It remains to be seen how Kavanaugh, and Barrett if she joins the court, will decide matters. In the meanwhile, lower courts remain bound by Smith and it controls this sort of case.

  13. The title of the post seems to be incorrect to the point of being misleading. There was no antidiscrimination law by the county against Covenant Weddings. Instead, Covenant Weddings pre-emptively sued Coyoga county, not on discrimination grounds, but on Religion Clause grounds.

    Since there doesn’t seem to have been any enforcement action, it’s surprising the county settled the case rather than getting the case dismissed for lack of standing.

    That said, a minister offering weddings is in general exempt from state rules about who can be married.

    1. My guess is that the cost of a meaningless declaration and no fees or costs versus the cost of successfully litigating drove this.

  14. Yeah, this follows.

    ADF does this regularly. A city council/state/whatever passes a new non-discrimiantion ordinance, and then ADF goes in to find someone that doesn’t like gay folk wants to be a designated martyr to sue them.

    The suits don’t normally go anywhere, because no one is actually trying to sue the designated martyr. Sometimes ADF gets a judgement like this where the state/city/whatever says “yeah, you’re obviously not covered by this. Fuck off.” Sometimes they just lose and get a “fuck off”.

    That’s the ADF for you. They’re not really trying to win cases, they’re just trying to look like they’re doing something so they can claim that they’re “protecting your freedoms (from people who weren’t threatening them)” and get donations.

    Really, any article about the ADF should include a disclaimer on what their business model actually looks like.

    1. The Founding Fathers called it “jealousy” – taking alarm at the first indication of infringement on their rights.

      If they stood around saying “it’s just a small tax, let’s keep cool and see where George III is going with this,” American ballplayers would be kneeling to “God Save the Queen” before cricket matches (and maybe prosecuted for sedition for disrespecting the monarch).

      We know perfectly well that people have been driven out of business by these “civil rights” laws, so the time to take alarm has already arrived. Except of course for people who say it’s perfectly OK to drive these people out of business.

      1. We know perfectly well that people have been driven out of business by these “civil rights” laws […]

        Name one.

        The closest example I can think of is Sweet Cakes by Melissa which closed it’s doors before their case was finished because their customers stopping coming ’round, not because of the fines against them (which their donated war chest was more then capable of absorbing).

        Hell, even Lester Maddox’s diner didn’t go out of business because the CRA (1964), he just sold it rather then serve black people.

        So no. The ADF has a dishonest business model in which they purport to “defend” people who are not under attack so that they can beg for donations from their base. It’s a scam, and nothing more.

        1. I thought Sweet Cakes by Melissa *was* an example of someone being forced out of business. Or is this a case of “the body was dead when I fired the bullets into it”?

          As for businesses getting in trouble (I can’t find whether they still exist today), look up “Arlene’s Flowers,” “Hands on Originals,” “Aloha Bed and Breakfast,” etc.

          1. Nope. Sweet Cakes by Melissa closed it’s doors long before any fines were levied against them. Years before. They closed because their local customers did not support them anymore, not because of any law.

            As for businesses getting in trouble […]

            Moving the goalpost eh?

            And if you “can’t find”, its’ because you didn’t look very hard. All three are still around.

            So zero-for-four, you haven’t named a single place that was ” driven out of business by these ‘civil rights’ laws”. You have one business that closed it’s door because it had no customers, and there that are still around.

            1. The right-wingers at Wikipedia say that “After receiving extensive criticism on Facebook and in the news, the Kleins closed their storefront in September 2013, switching to operating the business from their home.” Maybe that’s what you meant by their closing due to boycotts?

              Then they had to pay at $135,000 fine, with interest.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klein_v._Oregon_Bureau_of_Labor_and_Industries

              In found a New York farm which lost a SSM case, then knuckled under in order to stay in business (with proceeds from its operations going to a marriage defense organization).

              Perhaps I can “move the goalposts” to the extent of saying businesses faced expensive litigation and large fines. But…

              (cont. in next post to avoid double links)

            2. There is this from 2012:

              “A well-known Maryland tour company famous for its old-fashioned trolley rides will no longer be offering wedding services come Jan. 2013 because the company’s owner opposes same-sex marriage and fears he might face discrimination claims for turning away gay couples….

              “According to the Baltimore Sun, Grubbs’s decision means walking away from $50,000 in revenue in the upcoming new year, which is when he will stop wedding services because that is when the new same-sex marriage legalization comes into effect in the state.”

              https://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-business-owner-quits-md-wedding-tours-over-same-sex-marriage.html

              And that was all the media coverage of that company I was able to find, though I see wedding tours are again on the Web site – they say they’ve resumed. So I don’t know if they knuckled under or got an exemption.

              1. Let me note that I couldn’t find a media update reflecting their apparent resumption of wedding tours…and the update on their Web site was in 2017 so that means they’d been almost five years with their wedding tours shut down.

                A shutdown attributable directly to these laws you’re gaslighting people about.

                http://www.discover-annapolis.com/tag/wedding/

                1. A shutdown attributable directly to these laws you’re gaslighting people about.

                  … I’m “gaslighting” you by pointing out that you can’t back up your claims?

              2. Yes, them literally closing their storefront doors and no longer operating a brick-and-mortar business is what I meant by “closing their doors”.

                And sure, you can change your goalpost… but that people get sued and face fines isn’t a point I was debating, so have fun. Further, there’s no evidence that anti-gay discriminators face harsher fines then folks that violate other non-discrimination laws.

                That said? The Klein’s judge specifically said that they upped the fine for two reasons: (A) the Kleins doxxed the lesbian couple, making the harms far worse then simply refusing service, and (B) the size of the very-public war-chest they’d accumulated by doing the martyr circuit with anti-gay activists. The fine, as “large” as it was, was not enough to deplete the war chest.

                But hey, maybe you should rewind a little bit… given that you can’t find a single case of a business being driven out because of civil rights laws, maybe you should stop and wonder why you were so certain?

                Maybe, just maybe, it’s because there’s a certain class of anti-gay activist that profits (literally) from making people think such things? After all, all their “these gays are so evil!” screeds always include the money beg at the bottom.

              3. So, in sum, the businesses which I thought had been driven out of business had “merely” been fined over $135,000 and kept out of the wedding business for over four years. I apologize for the error.

              4. I believed the Maryland company had been driven out of business because it *was.* But it reopened after over four years – and it was incomplete news reports which led me to think they’d closed permanently, not fundraising letters from the groups you demonize.

                In any case, they were in fact driven out of business for several years. I thought there’d be more such cases, but applying the principle that if it’s not in the media it didn’t happen, obviously such other cases don’t exist.

                As you knowledge, businesses do indeed face suits and fines.

                “Further, there’s no evidence that anti-gay discriminators face harsher fines then folks that violate other non-discrimination laws.”

                Which begs the question. What suspect classifications ought to be designated by statute? Or (as one commenter suggested once) should there be a generic law that no business can discriminate on any basis except what the courts consider business-related? That would reverse the presumption of liberty and convert it into a presumption of regulation, but all in a good cause, I suppose.

                Or if you don’t go that far, what is the basis for expanding lists of suspect classes? Your feelings?

                1. I apologize for the error.

                  How ’bout you do better: take some time to figure out why you so casually jumped to the party line about what you “know perfectly well”. As I’m about to explain, the Maryland company doesn’t meet the original goal post and it was your fifth example, so it really wasn’t what you were thinking of the first go-round.

                  I believed the Maryland company had been driven out of business because it *was.*

                  If McDonald’s stops offering the McRib, you don’t say “McDonalds was driven out of business”. They’re still open, they still do business. They no longer offer that specific service, but they’re still around. Your grand-standing does you no favors.

                  […] and it was incomplete news reports which led me to think they’d closed permanently

                  … which is funny, because they’re like your 5th attempt at naming a business that was “driven out” by Civil Rights laws. What’s your excuse for the first four that came to mind?

                  I thought there’d be more such cases […]

                  Way to downplay yourself. You were so certain of what you “know perfectly well”, it didn’t occur to you that you’d actually have to back it up.

                  Which begs the question.

                  Not really, but I’m bored so…

                  What suspect classifications ought to be designated by statute?

                  That’s a political question, and is largely best handled by politicians who are reacting to the needs of their constituents.

                2. Oh, seriously, they were driven out of the wedding business – just because they didn’t go on the dole and close their other business activities, you’re going to nitpick and ignore that example?

                  Again,

                  “According to the Baltimore Sun, Grubbs’s decision means walking away from $50,000 in revenue in the upcoming new year, which is when he will stop wedding services because that is when the new same-sex marriage legalization comes into effect in the state.”

                  And frankly, I don’t trust your assurances that the Kleins would have gone out of business due to boycotts (and threats) alone. It’s a “the corpse was dead when I fired bullets into it” argument.

                  “That’s a political question, and is largely best handled by politicians who are reacting to the needs of their constituents.”

                  Not really an answer.

                  1. Oh, seriously, they were driven out of the wedding business […]

                    How do you keep saying that quote… “the corpse was dead when I fired bullets into it.” Except it’s moving around, dancing and singing, and you’re trying to convince me it’s a corpse.

                    And frankly, I don’t trust your assurances that […]

                    Why would you need my assurances? The timeline is there to see for yourself, as is them bragging about how big their war chest was.

                    Not really an answer.

                    So? It’s a political question, it doesn’t need some over-arching unified theory of whatever.

                    1. The Kleins were driven out of business. You expect us to believe that they were driven out purely by voluntary boycotts and not by the legal proceedings against them which ultimately included a hefty fine – and the promise of more fines to come from the next litigant, don’t forget.

                      So the bullets fired into the body had nothing to do with why it’s dead? To call that unproven is an understatement.

                      “It’s a political question, it doesn’t need some over-arching unified theory of whatever.”

                      Sure it does. Unless as I said before, you’re simply going by your feelings.

                    2. And going by the fundamentalist propagandists at Wikipedia, they had a bit more trouble with their fundraising than you’ve mentioned so far. Their GoFundMe account was closed, though in the end GoFundMe graciously allowed them to collect the donations they’d obtained before the account was closed.

                    3. The Kleins were driven out of business. You expect us to believe […]

                      …to believe the Kleins about why they closed shop in 2013, two years before the judgement against them, yes. You’re the one calling the Kleins a pack of liars, not me.

                      Unless as I said before, you’re simply going by your feelings.

                      To be clear, which of us made an ultimately unsubstantiated claim about what they “know perfectly well”, and which has pointed at what actually happened in actual cases?

                      they had a bit more trouble with their fundraising than you’ve mentioned so far.

                      … yes, I can’t imagine why I didn’t realize that GoFundMe travelled back in time from 2015 to 2013 to tell the Klein’s “things are gonna get weird for a week” is why the Klein’s closed their storefront in 2013. It all makes sense now.

                      You do realize that’s how badly you’re stretching now, yes? You are saying that we need to ignore the timeline, ignore that the fine was more then paid for, ignore what the Klein’s themselves have said… you are saying we should ignore all that, to conclude that you have a SINGLE example, in almost 60 years of history, of a civil rights law “driving out” a business.

                    4. “which [of us] has pointed at what actually happened in actual cases”

                      I have. The Maryland guy got out of the wedding business for four years. I doubt you know about this case. But I knew about it very well. So yes, I knew quite well that the “civil rights” laws drove this fellow out of the wedding business.

                      You claimed I was relying on fundraising letters from right-wing organizations, but in fact I went with Wikipedia and local news sources and the Web sites of the businesses themselves. Next you’ll claim these sites were infiltrated by right-wingers.

                      You want to impose fines and legal expenses on businesses whose definition of marriage differs from yours, and you want to do it based on your feelings.

                      You also expect us to believe that the Kleins would have closed their business in some alternate universe where they did *not* face fines and crippling legal expenses for each “gay couple” they turned down.

                      While making all these errors of fact and logic, which you *haven’t* acknowledged, you made statements far more absolute, and far less accurate, than anything I said, namely:

                      “The ADF has a dishonest business model in which they purport to ‘defend’ people who are not under attack so that they can beg for donations from their base. It’s a scam, and nothing more.”

                      I guess I did you a favor by going down the rabbit hold of businesses actually shutting down (though I found one), which helps you distract from your inability to prove your own sweeping claims.

                    5. But I knew about it very well.

                      So well, it’s the last one you thought of.

                      You claimed I was relying on fundraising letters from right-wing organizations […]

                      Lol wut? Citation please.

                      You want to impose fines and legal expenses […]

                      Citation please.

                      You also expect us to believe that the Kleins would have closed their business in some alternate universe where they did *not* face fines and crippling legal expenses for each “gay couple” they turned down.

                      What droll.

                      I expect you to believe the Kleins about why they closed. You are the one calling them liars.

                    6. “maybe you should stop and wonder why you were so certain?

                      “Maybe, just maybe, it’s because there’s a certain class of anti-gay activist that profits (literally) from making people think such things?”

                    7. Unless you’re claiming that you live in a cave and only visit Reason.com and Wikipedia, then no, you don’t have to be on anyone’s mailing list to come across their propaganda.

                    8. Among your many, many “terminological inexactitudes,” you said I held my views because I was tricked by anti-gay activists. That’s not the only time you purported to read my mind, but your bad faith indicates that your cries of “liar” are simply projection.

                      If I assumed that every error on your part (far more than I committed) was a lie, you’d be a veritable Baron Munchausen, though without the entertainment factor.

              5. “the Kleins doxxed the lesbian couple, making the harms far worse then simply refusing service”

                I understand they published the accusation form which they received from the government. Then when they got complaints that this public document included everyone’s address, they redacted those bits of information.

                “the size of the very-public war-chest they’d accumulated by doing the martyr circuit with anti-gay activists”

                Yes, it’s a feature of the justice system that you get hit harder if you try to defend yourself than if you just give in. I don’t deny that this is a broad phenomenon. Plea-bargaining is the key example.

                1. As heartening as it is to see you finally learning more about what you already knew perfectly well, I’m curious what you think the point is?

                  You’ve already given up your initial claim, that civil rights laws drive businesses out.

                  The claim you tried to pivot to (that civil rights laws are used to sue businesses) is one I haven’t contested.

                  So what point do you think you’re making ground on here?

                  1. We’ve already thoroughly discussed the question of businesses closing. I gave my examples. I even stipulated that the only examples in existence were the ones mentioned in the media.

                    Now it’s time for you to defend your own sweeping statement:

                    “The ADF has a dishonest business model in which they purport to ‘defend’ people who are not under attack so that they can beg for donations from their base. It’s a scam, and nothing more.”

                    You said “under attack,” not “closed down,” please notice.

                    Was Elane Photography in New Mexico (defended by the ADF) “under attack,” or was that made up?

                    Was Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado (defended by the ADF) “under attack,” or was that made up?

                    Was Sweet Cakes by Melissa (defended by ADF) “under attack” or was that made up?

                    I’d go on, but I want to get your answers to these questions first.

                  2. Now it’s time for you to defend your own sweeping statement:

                    Let me see…

                    You have wasted four hours of my time arguing your moronic claim that civil rights laws shut businesses down.

                    You have lied about what I have said.

                    You have called the people you are trying to defend liars.

                    You have given no evidence of introspection such that you might consider why you were so strident in your baseless beliefs.

                    You have assigned me political positions, apparently purely on the basis of me knowing about these cases and calling the ADF a scam.

                    In short, you have already wasted hours of my time, I have no faith that you are capable of changing your mind on anything, and the only basis for me continuing this conversation is my amusement, and I am not amused by petulant demands.

                    1. Just to be clear, these attacks against myself aren’t true, but that doesn’t mean it was a good idea for me to get into an Internet “debate” on Volokh.com. I was aware of the toxic atmosphere but got in anyway. This was not a good use of my time. Nobody “wasted my time,” nobody forced me to spend time on the Volokh comment section, I wasted my own time. Oh, well.

                  3. Faced with a challenge to your claims, you don’t bother to defend those claims.

                    You know very well what happened to those businesses I listed, and that they were in fact “under attack.”

                    If I wanted to crawl into the gutter with you I’d say you’re a liar, but I’ll content myself with remarking that you have uttered a stream of terminological inexactitudes.

                    1. “You have called the people you are trying to defend liars.”

                      I certainly should have known better than to take your word on anything.

                      Do I believe your assertions, or do I believe the Washington Post:

                      “…Melissa and Aaron Klein closed their bakery in a Portland suburb, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, after being fined $135,000 for refusing to make a wedding cake in 2013 for a lesbian couple.”

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-passes-on-new-case-involving-baker-who-refused-to-make-wedding-cake/2019/06/17/f78c5ae0-7a71-11e9-a5b3-34f3edf1351e_story.html

                      “You have assigned me political positions, apparently purely on the basis of me knowing about these cases and calling the ADF a scam.”

                      But you obviously *don’t* know about these cases – you don’t know about the Klein case and you don’t know about the Maryland case. Both businesses which closed on account of these laws you’re trying to gaslight the readers about. Or you could claim that the Washington Post is spreading right-wing propaganda.

                      “You have given no evidence of introspection such that you might consider why you were so strident in your baseless beliefs.”

                      I’m glad I stuck to the facts rather than submit to your false narratives.

                      Once again, lest anyone forget, you turned tail and ran rather than defend your claim: “The ADF has a dishonest business model in which they purport to ‘defend’ people who are not under attack so that they can beg for donations from their base. It’s a scam, and nothing more.”

                      I gave three examples of ADF-defended businesses which were “under attack” (you didn’t say closed) for refusing to knuckle under to the PC commissars – you understandably enough abandoned your assertions and didn’t bother to defend them, because you have no defense.

                    2. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather – the fine was imposed in 2015 and the Kleins stopped selling cakes *in 2016,* after the fine was imposed:

                      https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2020/01/oregon-appeals-court-will-rule-again-on-states-130k-fine-of-sweet-cakes-bakery-for-refusing-to-sell-same-sex-wedding-cake.html

                      This is, to use a euphemism, “in tension” with your claim that the Kleins “closed shop in 2013, two years before the judgement against them.”

                    3. “The Kleins closed their Gresham shop in 2013 and stopped selling cakes in 2016.”

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